Pearson Survey: Students Desire More Classroom Technology

Pearson has published the results of a survey entitled Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey 2014, produced in partnership with Harris Poll, concerning students’ use of mobile devices in grades 4 – 12.

Most students who were surveyed expressed the desire to use mobile devices more in their classrooms than they were currently, and this was especially true for younger students. Tablet usage is high for school-related work, and it continues to increase. Across all grade levels smartphone usage has increased, but it is most common among older students.  A large majority of students who own a smartphone own the standard size, but the size of the tablets that students own varies according to grade level.

Pearson is making an effort to understand how students use technology for learning. The survey respondents were 8 – 18 year old US residents in grades 4-12. The number of respondents was 2,252.

The most commonly used mobile device for school remains the laptop, while a very small number of students use the hybrid tablet/laptop.  Most students believe that tablets can make a big difference in learning, specifically in the area of improving student engagement. 

Most students at every level feel they know more about tablets and other computers than their teachers, and only one in six students attends a school that provides every student with a laptop or tablet.

Thirty percent of students who want to use a smartphones in 2015 want that phone to be a large-sized phone or phablet.  A majority of students at every grade level, when asked their preference for 2015, said they want the large-sized tablet for school work, especially middle school students. The actual percentages of students who wanted a large-sized tablet were: 53% elementary school students; 60% middle school students; 49% high school students.

In the “Closer Look” section of the survey, Pearson discovered that boys and girls share the same attitudes about technology, but there are differences in attitudes about technology and learning along the lines of racial or ethnic background. African American students seem to be the most optimistic about the importance of the use of tablets in the classroom, and they are more likely to agree that tablets will change the way students are educated than their Hispanic or white peers.  

African American students are most likely to say that their teachers are knowledgeable about tablets and other computers and that their teachers will use that knowledge to help them learn.  African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to say that using tablets in the classroom allows them to learn in a way that is best for them, or that tablets help students do better in class. 

Mobile device usage varies by gender, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.  Boys in elementary school are much more likely than girls to say they regularly use a smartphone.  Whites and Hispanics in secondary school are much more likely to use laptops than are African Americans.  African Americans and Hispanics in secondary school are much more likely to regularly use smartphones than whites, and African Americans and Hispanics attending secondary school are far more likely to regularly use tablets than whites.

Students whose parents attended college or graduate school are much more likely than students whose parents attended high school or less, or partial college, to report regularly using tablets. High school girls are more likely to say that they “ever” use a smartphone for school work during the school year.  Hispanic and African American students are overall more likely than whites to say that they “ever” use a smartphone for school work, and Hispanic and African American students are more likely to say they “ever” use tablets to do their school work than are white students.

The tablet, smart phone, laptop addition into US public school classrooms is taking plave across the country. In order to do away with heavy textbooks, Denver South High School has issued 500 Kindle Fire tablets for its incoming freshmen. They will be loaded with software that students will need to succeed.  And, in Nashville, history class will be taught without the use of a textbook. Teachers will use digital media for history classes.

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